Melancon strong in Pawtucket, hoping for call


Melancon strong in Pawtucket, hoping for call

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Mark Melancon would like nothing more than to get back to the Red Sox to prove that hes not the pitcher who left last week after being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket with just four outings under his belt and an ERA of 49.50.

His three outings with the PawSox are helping to prove that. Spanning 3 13 innings he has yet to allow a run or a walk, giving up three hits with six strikeouts. He has held opponents to a .231 average with a 4.00 groundball-to-flyout ratio.

Tuesday against the ScrantonWilkes-Barre Yankees, Melancon entered in the ninth with the PawSox leading 4-3. He faced four batters, allowing a double, with three strikeouts, earning a save.

That was good stuff, said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. He has a good arm, good stuff. he worked on his breaking ball and changeup a little bit more tonight, which is one of the goals here to try to utilize the off-speed stuff a little bit more because its good stuff, and get ahead in the count so we can utilize it.

It was an outing, like Melancons first two with Pawtucket, that he can build from.

It was good, Melancon said. I felt good. Still working on stuff but what I was working on was effective tonight. So its positive.

Ive been working on my changeup. Ive been working on location, first of all. But being more aggressive, throwing in, climbing the ladder with two strikes. Just a lot, I guess.

What Melancon went through with the Sox -- especially his last outing on April 17 when he faced six Rangers batters in the eighth, giving up six runs and three home runs without recording an out is not easy for any pitcher, especially for a pitcher in his first season with a new team.

An experience like that can stay in a pitchers head.

To me, it doesnt look like it, said Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur said. If it is, its not showing. He just wants to get back.

Melancon also wants to use that as a learning experience.

I havent lost perception of who I am and what I can do, he said. Obviously my outings up there werent good but that doesnt mean Im a bad pitcher and dont know how to get outs. So, unfortunately, had a rough go for the first couple of outings. But its a long season.

You cant really bring it back and do it over. So obviously Im learning from it and hopefully we can look back and go, Wow, thats great. Im glad I went through that because it made me that much stronger and Im that much better now. But its unfortunate that I went that far but baseballs tough. I respect the game. Big league hitters are good.

Location has been the key for him with the PawSox.

Were going to work on pitching inside a little more. His stuff is good. We got to keep it down, Sauveur said. Throw the cutter more and mix in the changeup. Just another thought to put in the hitters minds. But we want to pitch in a little more.

And hes been awesome. The stuff hes been through, its not easy. But hes been outstanding. He came down here. He didnt shy away. He said, Can you get me in the game? Hes been awesome. Back-to-back games and one was a tough situation too, bases loaded, 6-3, he gave up a base hit but he got the next guy.

Melancon is pleased with the strikeouts and groundball outs, which can be keys to his success.

I noticed that while I was up there, I just wasnt getting any groundballs, he said. I dont know if I ever went through a stretch with the lack of groundballs that I had up there. I have a couple different opinions on why. But at the end of the day its location.

Even if I didnt strike three guys out in an inning, Im looking for groundballs. And no more home runs.

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.